Dec 8, 2013 7:31am
DorotaDyman & Associates Real Estate: More funding is now available to fight real estate fraud
Upset with the rise in property crimes, and concerned about desperate home-owners--especially seniors--being victimized by scams, officials from the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office said last week that they are taking a more active approach to real estate fraud and now have the resources to fight these crimes.
Deputy district attorneys Kim Connors and Mike Fitzsimmons asked real estate agents for their help in fighting real estate fraud.
Realtors are in the trenches and know what is happening to homeowners. "You are our eyes and ears," said Connors.
Real estate fraud has been on the rise since the mortgage meltdown. "Desperate homeowners are ripe to be victims of loan modification and other scams," said Fitzsimmons.
The good news is the district attorney's office now has more funds to fight property crime issues. Fitzsimmons explained financing to fight real estate fraud comes from recording fees. Before this year, $3 from each recording fee went to the unit; this year, $10 will go to toward real estate fraud prosecution.
The increased funding has allowed the office to beef up its real estate fraud unit with four prosecutors, three full-time paralegals and seven investigators. One paralegal is solely engaged in reviewing changes in titles, sending out letters to homeowners verifying authenticity, and letters to homeowners who have received notices of default, with information on what they can do and victim prevention tips.
"We have a lot more money to work with and will be hiring more attorneys and investigators. If you see suspicious activity, report it to us. With new funding, we now have the ability and higher capacity to deal with these crimes," said Fitzsimmons.